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Siddharth Roy Kapur to produce film on Mumbai's ballet boys

The film will be directed by Sooni Taraporevala, who has earlier helmed Little Zizou (2008).

Mayur Lookhar

Producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, the former managing director of Disney India, has floated his own production company Roy Kapur Films. Under this banner, Kapur has announced a new project that will be helmed by Sooni Taraporevala. She has earlier directed Little Zizou (2008) and was the writer of Mira Nair's acclaimed film Salaam Bombay (1988).

The film will be based on the story of two boys from Mumbai's slum who went to on achieve fame as India's international ballet dancers. Amiruddin Shah, 16, and Manish Chauhan, 22, were trained by Israeli-American mentor Yehuda Maor and were later enrolled at reputed institutions like the London’s Royal Ballet Academy and the Oregan Ballet Theatre in America. 

Kapur was inspired to make a feature film on the duo after he watched Taraporevala’s 14-minute documentary Yeh Ballet (2017) on the boys.

“I am very excited about bringing this wonderful and inspiring story to the screen and thrilled to have Sooni write and direct it. I have always admired her writing, and she has outdone herself with the superb script she has written on the ballet boys. What makes this film even more special is that we will explore an unfamiliar western dance form like ballet and its impact on these boys, while staying firmly rooted in our own culture and are more familiar dance aesthetic. I do believe this will resonate in a big way with both Indian and international audiences,” Kapur said in a statement. 

While Taraporevala hopes the film brings the incredible journey of the two boys to the fore. “I have always admired Sid’s [Kapur] filmography and his drive to tell stories that matter. I hope this collaboration will successfully bring to light the incredible and emotionally driven journey of the boys and their teacher and the fact that talent has no boundaries. We just need to recognise it as sometimes it’s found in the most unlikely of places,” she said.

The film's lyrics will be written by Mayur Puri, and the music will be composed by Sachin-Jigar. Kapur has roped in Shiamak Davar, Yehouda Maor and Cindy Jourdain as the choreographers and the film will go on floors in 2019 with the makers targeting a 2020 release.